West Haven VA Hospital to get Wi-Fi

The VA Hospital in West Haven is about to get Wi-Fi (WFSB)

When it comes to internet access, we've come a long way from the days of the dial up connection.

While Wi-Fi is seemingly everywhere, one place it’s not at is West Haven's VA Hospital.

Veterans say being able to log online is like providing a lifeline, allowing them to reconnect with old friends and buddies from the service and the days stationed overseas.

"It’s a personal contact, people that you haven't seen. I was able to chat with my old radio man from Vietnam,” said Elliot Storm, who is a marine.

He said for those seeking treatment at the VA Hospital, something as simple as reaching out to re-connect is not always easy.

While spending nine weeks at the facility, undergoing treatment for leukemia, Storm realized there was no Wi-Fi in any of the patients' rooms.

"Every day I’d walk down halls and it would break my heart to see the men laying there. You have a television, but just knowing how important it is, just to be able to reach out, go online to tap in to sources, some of the units they were, find someone of those old buddies,” Storm said.

So he got the ball rolling, writing letters and contacted Senator Richard Blumenthal.

On Monday, standing side-by-side, the senator announced he's talked with the new veterans affairs secretary, and said wi-fi is on its way.

"I have his word that he will get it done. The request for proposals will go out, the formal contracting process is now underway,” Storm said.

It won't be cheap though.

Blumenthal says the final installation cost, to wire up all the patient rooms on the entire campus, is expected to be more than $500,000, but he said it is worth it, and that it is just another piece in providing care, for those who might not have anyone to turn to.

"As good as the doctors and the drugs are in this place, access to the outside world is critical for support, emotional sustenance, following the news, connecting with friends, that's what the internet does for people,” Blumenthal said.

He added that this is not just focused on West Haven. He has been told that the VA will be looking at bringing Wi-Fi to other hospitals that are still without it.

Storm is in remission, and said he'll have another procedure next month at Yale New Haven Hospital.

Copyright 2017 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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